Monday, June 8, 2009

James Swan ignores the “log” in his “own eye”.


"Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:4 – NASB)

Four days ago, our Reformed brother in Christ, Ken Temple, stimulated a significant number of comments in the James White’s 1995 essay returns thread. Just minutes ago, I responded to Ken’s most recent post, and then headed to cyberspace to pursue what has been transpiring on some of the blogs I tend to follow (many of which are known for their anti-Catholic stance). On AOMIN’s blog, I came across a new post by James Swan (posted earlier today), which is germane to the AF thread I linked to above. Apart from James’ observation/s concerning the proliferation and sales of popular apologetic literature in the 16th and 21st centuries, one finds the same, tired, old, polemic concerning Scripture and Tradition which is found in so many “popular” Evangelical treatments (including White’s essay referenced above). The primary deficiency of James’ entry does not stem from his reflections on the certain inconsistencies one finds in contemporary “popular” apologetic Catholic literature, but rather from the neglect of two important issues: first, the failure to come to grips with much of the same inconsistencies that exist within various sola scriptura paradigms; and second, the wholesale neglect of recent Catholic scholarship on the relationship between Scripture and Tradition.

Concerning the first issue, this Beachbum is still waiting for a scholarly, or even a cogent, detailed ‘lay’, response(s) to A.N.S. Lane’s insightful essay, and/or D.H. Williams’ important contributions which include:

Retrieving the Tradition & Renewing Evangelicalism

Evangelicals and Tradition

Tradition, Scripture, and Interpretation

“The Search For Sola Scriptura in the Early Church”, Interpretation, October 1998, pp. 354-366.

As for the second issue, the contributions of important Catholic scholars such as Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI (Opening Up the Scriptures; Revelation and Tradition; “The Transmission of Divine Revelation” in Commentary On The Documents of Vatican II – Vol. III), Avery Dulles (“Revelation, Scripture and Tradition” in Your Word Is Truth), Thomas Guarino (“Catholic Reflections on Discerning the Truth of Sacred Scripture” in Your Word Is Truth), and Karl Rahner (“Scripture and Tradition” in Theological Investigatons – Vol. 6), to name but a few, are avoided.

There are also the contributions by yours truly under the SOLA SCRIPTURA LABEL which include numerous quotes from the literature referenced above, along with some personal reflections.

So much for what does NOT appear in James’ post. Now, a brief critique of something that IS in the contribution—James wrote:

Others refer to Tradition as interpretation, yet until a dogma is infallibly defined, Roman Catholics are granted freedom to privately interpret. The history of Roman Catholic theology is replete with multiple private interpretations on virtually every aspect of theology. Even after an infallible definition, Roman Catholics are granted freedom to interpret infallible pronouncements, as long as they do not contradict that infallible pronouncement. Therefore, in terms of certainty, Tradition does not provide what her apologists claim- they are not reproducing a body of truth from the apostles, but rather are invoking anachronism by claiming her recent developments were held by the apostles, when in fact they are the result of the movement of private interpretation within the church.

So, “Traditon does not provide certainty”? I have come across this statement (or its equivalents) numerous times. It is not difficult to demonstrate that such assertions lack substance—for instance, Arians and Socinians are able to mount significant challenges to the full Deity of the Son of God, and the doctrine of the Trinity via sola scriptura; however, the clarity of Tradition, via the Nicene Creed, the Chalcedonian definition, Trent, et al., allows no room for doubt on these important issues. (See HERE and HERE for further reflections.)


Grace and peace,

David


July 02, 2009 update: earlier today, James Swan posted a NEW THREAD that is related to this one.

37 comments:

Ken Temple said...

From James Swan's article:

"Keating states: "It is true that Catholics do not think revelation ended with what is in the New Testament. They believe, though, that it ended with the death of the last apostle. The part of revelation that was not committed to writing- the part that is outside the New Testament and is the oral teaching that is the basis of Tradition- that part of revelation Catholics also accept ..."(8) Here, the partim-partim view of Tradition allows Roman Catholics a basis for their distinctive views. One need not seek proof for every Christian belief in the Bible, for Tradition is the second part that completes the whole of God's revealed truth. Keating goes on to state this follows Paul's injunction to stand firm, then, brethren, and hold by the traditions you have learned, in word or in writing, from us (2 Thes. 2:14)."

Then, he goes on to show the "material sufficiency" view, which is what Patrick Madrid and you and I guess, Dave Armstrong hold to.

The problem is that Roman Catholicism claims infallibility and certainty, but wants to have things both ways; to cover all the bases- both partim partim view and material sufficiency view and use one or the other in different contexts and situations - because they are both acceptable by the RCC. This goes against the certainty and infallibility that it claims. Protestants do not make that claim.

- Keatings view implies that there was secret oral tradition passed down by the apostles about Mary and the Pope and indulgences, etc. that only came out later in the worship and life of the church centuries later; whereas, Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide are right there in the Scriptures; even though Sola Fide was not articulated as part of the regula fide; it took the centuries of the heresies and corruptions of Rome to force it out into the open, by Luther and Calvin and Zwingli, etc.

Keating again: "One need not seek proof for every Christian belief in the Bible, for Tradition is the second part that completes the whole of God's revealed truth."

the regula fidei of the Early church, as you point out, started as teh baptism formula of Matthew 28:19, the Trinity, and then expanded as needed against heresies. Both Irenaeus against the Gnostics and Athanasius against he Arians defended the full Deity of Christ on the basis of Scripture alone, the "tradition" being taken from Scripture. When they spoke of tradition and the faith, they backed it up Scripture.

Keating admits the RCC does not have to do this; and they all admit that the BA of Mary (1950) has no Scripture behind it.

Ken Temple said...

Some comments on Anthony Lane's article:

I think that the ancillary view of tradition is the one that the ECF had; (it is a help but not infallible and it is subordinate to Scripture) -- seems to be the view of Irenaeus, Tertullian, (rule of faith) and Athanasius (preaching, teaching, the faith, the tradition) articulated their view against Gnostics, and other anti-Trinitarian heresies. (Arians and tropici and others). Since Evanglical Protestants agree with that; using their statements about “the faith” and “the tradition” and “the regula fidei” as somehow against Sola Scriptura or Protestantism, to me; seems like a wrong and anachronistic use of them. That is, to quote them on "the tradition" doesn't give them any points; because the “tradition” was the Trinitarian doctrines in the Scriptures.

Ken Temple said...

I am not sure that coincidence view can be taken beyond those Trinitarian doctrinal formulations. the problem comes when the RCC apologists start claiming other things like indulgences, the treasury of merit, perpetual virginity of Mary, sinlessness of Mary, bodily assumption, papal dogmas, priesthood, ex opere operato sacerdotal powers and trans. as part of the "rule of faith" and "teaching/the faith/the tradition" as part of what Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Athansius included.

To me, to claim that; which is what RCC apologetics does, is anachronistic and mis-leading and just has no evidence for it.

Augustine and Origen just assumed infant baptism was part of the apostolic tradition; and that was their great mistake; assuming it with no evidence from Scripture.

Basil and Gregory of Nyssa and Chrysostom sometimes say things that are close to sola Scritpura; but other times add things to the tradition that are not even in the bible -- and even RCC doesn't follow all of those practices anymore. I sincerely believe Basil was wrong to elevate those unwritten things to level of Scripture, if that is what he was doing. but RCC apologists are wrong to claim him as saying doctrines like Mary and Papal dogmas are included in Basil's "unwritten tradition". (baptism three times immersion; facing east when praying, holy oil, sign of the cross, etc.) It is wrong for them to claim transub. (8th century - 1215); 1854, 1870; and 1950 as part of the original deposit and read those things back into Basil, or Irenaeus, Tertullian, or Athanasius, which is what is seems that they do; by Newman and development and lots of mental gymnastics.

Ken Temple said...

Three things (at least, there may be others) that the Early church did to start to drift from the deposit, the God-breathed Scriptures; the tradition, the faith once for all delivered to the saints:

1. Ignatius clearly takes the "bishop" out of the plurality of leadership of presbyters; (Titus, Acts, I Timothy, Peter, and Clement show the earliest church government was a plurality of elders) and this seems to be one of the first steps in the early church of stepping outside of the bounds of Scripture; although as a practical matter, one of the elders who is gifted at teaching and leading usually rises to the top and a church can get things done faster without having to always have the consensus of all the elders on every little issue.

2. Baptismal regeneration and infant baptism together based on the doctrine of original sin; seems to the other great move away from Scripture in the Early Church.

3. Neglected a study of justification by faith in Romans and Galatians, and allowed penance, and centuries of build up of purgatory, indulgences, treasury of merit, priesthood, sacerdotal ex opera operato powers, etc. to build up and overshadow justification by faith.

Ken Temple said...

Some of the footnotes of Lane are frustrating because of abbreviations that I can make heads nor tails of; and one of them asserts something like tradition is the right interpretation of Scripture, but refers to Fleissman's (sp ?) article; and I don't have that.

I still don't see that that is true; even in Zahn's article.

Anyway, all issues of conflict between RCC and Evangelical Protestants do indeed seem to get back to local church authority -- Matthew 18, I Tim. 3:15, etc. -- the modern evangelicals lack of actually following, teaching about, or doing any church discipline has resulted in people who are historically minded to question the whole Protestant paradigm more and more.

The attractiveness of the RCC and the modern Newman-Hahn-Matatics-Dave Armstrong-Rod Bennett-Francis Beckwith types (former evangelicals converting to Rome) seems to come from a lack of history and unity and church authority in their experiences and the modern church; and wanting some one on this earth to go to as a higher authority - a priest, or Pope or cardinal or mediators in heaven.


“Those Protestant accounts of the Reformation which treat it just as a rejection of supplementary tradition and not as a rejection of the authority of the leaders of the church seriously distort the picture for just this reason.” (Lane, page 1, last sentence)

This seems to be one of his main points. But usually, in the accounts that I have read; for what I can remember, the Reformers rejected the authorities of the church because they had made the supplementary tradition equal with Scripture; and these supplements added so much to the Scripture, that it actually overshadowed and obscured and corrupted the truth of the gospel, which is clearly taught in the Scriptures. They were justifying so much false doctrine, “just because we say so, and we are the authorities, on the chair of Peter”, etc. “Whatever we say, goes” seems to be the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church. As a result, the church leaders and their claims of following tradition actually make them higher than Scripture, ruling over it and molding it to their own unbiblical interpretations. So, yes, there is a relationship to the rejection of additional tradition to the rejection of the church leaders; as Lane pointed out earlier, “Scripture and tradition cannot be studied in isolation.” (p. 1, paragraph 2)

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I sincerely appreciate the time you have taken to interact with Lane’s essay—you have certainly laid the foundation for some constructive, and thoughtful dialogue. Unfortunately, my response/s will have to wait until tomorrow, for in just a few minutes, I will be heading out with my wife to meet her mom and sister for the day over in Astoria—the cruise ship they are on should be docking in port very soon…

Looking forward to responding to your contributions sometime tomorrow, the Lord willing!


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

no problem,

looking forward to tomorrow; but I "fear" we will not solve anything more, since almost 500 years since 1517 has not solved the issue.

But the internet has allowed regular guys like me to at least look at more resources and understand church history better and historical theology better.

Sincerely,
Ken Temple

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Had a great time playing tourist yesterday; and even the weather cooperated—i.e. it did not rain!

You posted some great reflections on Lane’s essay yesterday; rather than trying to address everything in a general overview, I would like to focus on each issue separately—hope this is OK with you.

First, the type of tradition found in the Ante-Nicene Fathers. Going against Lane who supports “the coincidence view”, you instead believe that “the ancillary view” is the better candidate. I reread Lane’s essay this morning, including those references in the footnotes that I have access to, and yet once again, find myself siding with Lane of this issue.

Before proceeding any further on this, could you delineate a bit further why you disagree with Lane?

FYI: I found a lengthy Master’s thesis online this morning; it looks very interesting, and thought you might be interested in it too.

Also, I ordered a book SEE HERE that should prove to be valuable when we get to the Reformation period.


Grace and peace,

David

Nick said...

James Swan totally shot himself in the foot with this comment:

"Even though sola scriptura does not deny that there was a period of inscripturation in which the word of God was oral, Roman apologists typically use 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15, John 20:30, and John 21:25 in defense of the Catholic understanding of Tradition. These verses are offered as proof of an oral tradition functioning during the New Testament period, and therefore prove the existence of Rome's concept of Tradition. Catholic apologists never explain why the notion of a period in which the gospel was oral necessarily means God intended extra-biblical revelation to be passed on via Tradition. They simply conclude that if at some time God's word was oral, God intended more than what was inscripturated."


The Bible NEVER speaks of these periods of 'inscripturation' (where Sola Scriptura was not in operation due to oral teaching) or that all oral teaching would be eventually written down. That's the Achilles's heel of Swan's thesis, and once exposed the whole thing comes crashing down.

It's even more damning when you consider 2 Tim 3:16f applied during a time of inscripturation, which flat out means Paul could not have been teaching SS to Timothy.

Ken Temple said...

Nick wrote:
The Bible NEVER speaks of these periods of 'inscripturation' (where Sola Scriptura was not in operation due to oral teaching)

It doesn't have to; it is simply a historical fact that Revelation stopped with the apostles and all that is necessary was written down. Since we have no evidence of any other apostolic tradition; that is not in the 27 books of the NT; Sola Scriptura is true by the inherent nature of the historical fact that the apostles had the doctrines of Jesus from the Father (John 17:8) and that that "the faith" was delivered once for all to the saints" (Jude 3) and that we are not to go beyond what is written ( I Cor. 4:6) and we were not to add anything to the book of Revelation (22:18) and since it and Jude were probably the last books written; then it follows that all we need for faith and doctrine and practice is in the Scriptures; they are sufficient to equip the man of God in teaching and leading the church. ( 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

or that all oral teaching would be eventually written down.

there is no evidence of any other; and Irenaeus says that secret oral teaching is the method of the Gnostics, so thinking that the apostles taught orally on Mary and PV, IM, BA, co-mediator or Papal doctrines, or indulgences, violates the rule of faith.

That's the Achilles's heel of Swan's thesis, and once exposed the whole thing comes crashing down.

No, his view makes perfect sense and I agree with it.

It's even more damning when you consider 2 Tim 3:16f applied during a time of inscripturation, which flat out means Paul could not have been teaching SS to Timothy.

Since 2 Timothy is Paul's last letter right before he died, and Peter affirmed all of Paul's letters, (2 Peter 3:16) and John agrees with them also in all 5 of his books; it is teaching not only the OT in verse 15, but expands to all the NT in verse 16.
Not a problem at all. Sola Scriptura still stands.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

Where does the Bible assert the concept that the Scriptures are the sole infallibale rule of faith?

BC

Ken Temple said...

2 Timothy 3:16-17
John 17:17
Jude 3
I Corinthians 4:6
Revelation 22:18
Hebrews 1:1-3
Ephesians 2:19-20
John 10:35
2 Peter 1:12-21
2 Peter 3:16

No one verse says it all; but all together, with sound exegesis they teach the principle.

Ken Temple said...

I don't totally disagree with Lane on everything, just a little adjustment on the coincidence view in the early church.

Lane wrote:

"The classical embodiment of the coincidence view is found in the writings of Irenaeus and Tertullian.24

I would say that it is closer to the ancillary view; and that the coincidence view is only later articulated by Vincent of Lerins.

These both reject the Gnostic claims to a secret tradition supplementing Scripture.25

Yes, I agree here and that is one of the most powerful arguments against the "supplemental view" (Trent and Vatican II) and the "unfolding view" of Newman and RCC apologetics. It is here that the Reformers agree with the Early Church and Tertullian and Irenaeus. They spoke of church authority and that the tradition was in the true churches, but they never articulated any kind of infalliblity or assuming that an ecclesiastical authority would continue on uncorrupted into the future. the Early church did not seem to do that. Every generation is obligated to continue to "go back to the apostolic doctrine in the Scriptures and "be continually devoted to it" (Acts 2:40-46; "hold to the deposit" ( 1-2 Timothy, Titus), "contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" ( Jude 3) Irenaeus: "since the tradition does exist in the church, let us resort to the Scriptural proof . . . " This is ancillary to me. The coincidence view is not articulated until Vincent of Lerins.

Apostolic tradition does not add to Scripture but is evidence of how it is correctly to be interpreted.26

Vincent of Lerins articulated this later, after the first 4 ecumenical councils ( 5th Century, right?); but Irenaeus and Tertullian (180-200 AD) did not, in my opinion. It is clearly a summary and outline of apostolic doctrine, with the Trinitarian baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19 as it's structure.
It is all basic evangelical doctrine, and no indication of any RCC doctrinal abberations or additons or what Protestants to be corruptions - penance, indulgences, sacerdotal powers, ex opera operato, treasury of merit, purgatory, PVM, ICM, BA, co-mediator, statues and prayers to Mary and the saints, Papal dogmas, nothing.

Since the "rule of faith" and the "tradition" and "the faith" and "the preaching" is all very clear in Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Athanasius, they are all from Scripture itself, then they actually taught the perpiscuity of Scripture that the Reformers taught and which Lane talks about; so I would agree with Lane on this.


This tradition is found in those churches which were founded by the apostles, who taught men whose successors teach today.27

"today" meaning at that time of Tertullian and Irenaeus, according to their "rule of faith"; also Athanasius use of "tradition" and quoting Matthew 28:19 -- this does not mean that the church authorities cannot go wrong in the future, and that is one of the chief differences between how Protestants see the Early Church and the RCC anachronistic way of assuming just because they were right in the Early church; that they would then be right and infallible in their interpretations in the future.

These apostolic churches agree as to the content of the Christian message, in marked contrast to the variations among the heretics.28

Yes, this is fully compatible with the Reformers and Protestants.

It is important to note that it is the church which is the custodian of Scripture and tradition and which has the authentic apostolic message.

Yes, "custodian" in the sense that it is their duty to hold to it and guard it and teach it right and interpret it right; but when it went wrong, which the Medieval and RCC did; then it was no longer the legitimate custodian.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

I hate to point it out (yet again), but none of those verses assert the concept that the Scriptures are THE infallible rule of faith.

I am connecting via WIFI and typing on my iPhone from Isla Holbox so I won't get into too much detail
now, but I love the fact that you have such a respect for the Scriptures.

Blessings, BC

Nick said...

##Nick originally wrote:
The Bible NEVER speaks of these periods of 'inscripturation' (where Sola Scriptura was not in operation due to oral teaching)##

Ken: It doesn't have to; it is simply a historical fact that Revelation stopped with the apostles and all that is necessary was written down.

Nick: It DOESNT HAVE TO? That's a literal violation of Sola Scriptura right there. Also, it is not at all a historical fact Divine Revelation stopped with the death of the last apostle, nor is it a historical fact that all things necessary were eventually written down.


Ken: Since we have no evidence of any other apostolic tradition; that is not in the 27 books of the NT; Sola Scriptura is true by the inherent nature of the historical fact that the apostles had the doctrines of Jesus...

Nick: Two problems here. First, you assume no evidence of Apostolic teachings exists outside Scripture. Second, you're using a philosophical argument here for Sola Scriptura rather than a Biblical mandate.

Ken: and since it and Jude were probably the last books written; then it follows that all we need for faith and doctrine and practice is in the Scriptures;

Nick: PROBABLY the last books written? You're building critical dogma off of a probably? This critically undermines Sola Scriptura. Thus far, for Sola Scriptura to be true, we must make some huge assumptions, the very thing SS is supposed to prevent.

Ken: they are sufficient to equip the man of God in teaching and leading the church. ( 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Nick: 2 Tim was written while the Apostles were alive, it applied to Timothy the moment he read it. Yet if Sola Scriptura doesn't become operable until OUTSIDE of the Apostolic age, then 2 Tim couldn't have been teaching Sola Scriptura.



##Nick originally said: [The Bible never says] that all oral teaching would be eventually written down.##

Ken: there is no evidence of any other; and Irenaeus says that secret oral teaching is the method of the Gnostics, so thinking that the apostles taught orally on Mary and PV, IM, BA, co-mediator or Papal doctrines, or indulgences, violates the rule of faith.

Nick: You missed the point. Scripture ITSELF doesn't teach all oral teaching would be eventually written down. Thus you've gone beyond Scripture for your claim: a direct violation of SS.


Ken: No, his [Swan's] view makes perfect sense and I agree with it.

Nick: It cannot withstand logical nor Scriptural scrutiny.


##Nick's original comment: It's even more damning when you consider 2 Tim 3:16f applied during a time of inscripturation, which flat out means Paul could not have been teaching SS to Timothy.##

Ken: Since 2 Timothy is Paul's last letter right before he died, and Peter affirmed all of Paul's letters, (2 Peter 3:16) and John agrees with them also in all 5 of his books; it is teaching not only the OT in verse 15, but expands to all the NT in verse 16.
Not a problem at all. Sola Scriptura still stands.

Nick: What you said does not follow from what I originally said. That's the non-sequitor fallacy; my point was 3:15f applied during a time of inscripturation.
On top of that, there are problems with your argument anyway:
1) You don't know if 2 Tim is Paul's last letter.
2) Even if it was Paul's last letter, Scripture was still being written after 2 Tim was written (otherwise Peter could not confirm Paul's letters), further strengthening my case that SS could not have been the meaning Timothy read of 3:15f.

Nick said...

Correction on something I just said:
"Also, it is not at all a historical fact Divine Revelation stopped with the death of the last apostle, nor is it a historical fact that all things necessary were eventually written down."

They are historical facts (derived from Tradition), just not teachings derived from Scripture, which is what ultimately counts in this discussion.

Ken Temple said...

I hate to point it out (yet again), but none of those verses assert the concept that the Scriptures are THE infallible rule of faith.

BC, That is exactly why I carefully worded what I stated that you have to take all of them together. Together, they teach the basic principle; and it is admittedly a theological deduction from all those verses together. A true and holy exercise in proper exegesis of the texts.

I am connecting via WIFI and typing on my iPhone from Isla Holbox so I won't get into too much detail
now, but I love the fact that you have such a respect for the Scriptures.

BC, I appreciate that encouragement and take in good spirit; thanks for your positive spirit.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

With my weekend hiatus from the internet now over, I would like to continue our discussion on Lane’s essay. On Saturday you posted:

>>Apostolic tradition does not add to Scripture but is evidence of how it is correctly to be interpreted.26

Vincent of Lerins articulated this later, after the first 4 ecumenical councils ( 5th Century, right?); but Irenaeus and Tertullian (180-200 AD) did not, in my opinion. It is clearly a summary and outline of apostolic doctrine, with the Trinitarian baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19 as it's structure.
It is all basic evangelical doctrine, and no indication of any RCC doctrinal abberations or additons or what Protestants to be corruptions - penance, indulgences, sacerdotal powers, ex opera operato, treasury of merit, purgatory, PVM, ICM, BA, co-mediator, statues and prayers to Mary and the saints, Papal dogmas, nothing
>>

Tertuallian wrote:

==Nor does the Son seem to have revealed Him to any other than the apostles, whom He sent forth to preach — that, of course, which He revealed to them. Now, what that was which they preached — in other words, what it was which Christ revealed to them — can, as I must here likewise prescribe, properly be proved in no other way than by those very churches which the apostles founded in person, by declaring the gospel to them directly themselves, both vivâ voce, as the phrase is, and subsequently by their epistles. If, then, these things are so, it is in the same degree manifest that all doctrine which agrees with the apostolic churches — those molds and original sources of the faith must be reckoned for truth, as undoubtedly containing that which the (said) churches received from the apostles, the apostles from Christ, Christ from God. Whereas all doctrine must be prejudged as false which savors of contrariety to the truth of the churches and apostles of Christ and God. It remains, then, that we demonstrate whether this doctrine of ours, of which we have now given the rule, has its origin in the tradition of the apostles, and whether all other doctrines do not ipso facto proceed from falsehood. We hold communion with the apostolic churches because our doctrine is in no respect different from theirs. This is our witness of truth.==

I do not think one can say that it is “evangelical doctrine” that all true doctrine must agree “with the apostolic churches”. Further, do evangelical churches “hold communion with the apostolic churches” ?


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Nick: It DOESNT HAVE TO? That's a literal violation of Sola Scriptura right there.

No, it is not, because we have them as written texts. the mere fact that they were written when they were written and Jude says, "the faith was once for all delivered to the saints". That is written down in verse 3; therefore, it is all finished. Jude was probably written around 80 AD. All other books were written from 49-70 AD. ( I believe Revelation was written before 70 AD, in 68 or 69 AD.)
If John's writings were written from 90-96 AD, as many believe, the principle is the same. "do not add to the word of God".


Also, it is not at all a historical fact Divine Revelation stopped with the death of the last apostle,

Yes it is, "delivered once for all to the saints" Jude 3; and verse 17: "Remember the words that were spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ". They cannot "remember" them in accuracy unless they go back to the written records. Luke 24:25-27 says, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken; then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained the Scriptures to them. Here "spoken" is paralleled with "scriptures". The point is proven clearly.

nor is it a historical fact that all things necessary were eventually written down.

Yes it is. Can you point to any oral apostolic tradition, that is not in the Scriptures, that was not written down that has been infallibly declared by the RCC that it was actually spoken and revealed by the apostles while the apostles were still alive?

Ken Temple said...

by declaring the gospel to them directly themselves, both vivâ voce, as the phrase is, and subsequently by their epistles.

Here, Tertullian agrees with the principle that the oral apostolic doctrine was subsequently written down.

Where is this quote from?

the apostolic churches at the time of Tertullian are in basic agreement with Evangelicals and Protestants, in the rule of faith issue, a basic Apostles creed and Nicene creed as against Gnosticism and Arianism, etc.

Those apostolic churches, centuries later drifted from the apostolic doctrines, as Jesus warned them in Revelation chapters 2-3, (you have left your first love" (2:4) and Galatians, "I am amazed that you so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel." (Galatians 1:6)

So, we are in agreement with the rule of faith of Tertullian and Irenaeus and the faith and the tradition that Athanasius talks about in 1:28 of the First letter concering the Holy Spirit to Serapion, about the Tropici heresy.

Mind you, I am not saying that everything else that Tertullian writes in some of other place or context or Ireneaus, etc. or some obsure questionable book that Athanasius suppossedly wrote about Mary, etc. I am talking about when they outline the rule of faith, that doctrinal summary, the Evangelical Protestants agree with those "rule of faith" lists; or "the tradition", "the faith", "the preaching", etc.

Ken Temple said...

Nick: Two problems here. First, you assume no evidence of Apostolic teachings exists outside Scripture.

You cannot point to any either. that is why the RCC had to come up with the "subsequent view" (Trent and Vatican II) and "unfolding view" (Newman and DD) and why Cardinal Henry Edward Manning eventually said, "the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy." . . . it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour . . . (The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost: Or Reason and Revelation. New York, 1865, pp. 227-228.)

Second, you're using a philosophical argument here for Sola Scriptura rather than a Biblical mandate.

Not really. You are trying to force the Scriptures that they had to say, "mandate" or "command"; historical facts are also under the Providence of God and true; and under the Guidance of the Holy Spirit. The principle is there, when you put it all together. If the subsequent view or unfolding view was meant by God, especially through the one you claim was the first Pope, then Peter, in his second letter, would have told us about more revelation and apostolic succession so that after he dies, the churches would have guidance. Instead, Peter does nothing of the sort. He points them all back to the Scritpures, and he calls his letter writing, a work of "diligence", so that they will be able to remember, and to stir up their sincere minds to the truth. He also confirms all of the Paul's epistles as Holy Scripture. 2 Peter 1:12-21; 3:1; 3:16. The principle is very clearly there.

Ken Temple said...

1) You don't know if 2 Tim is Paul's last letter.

Yes we do; there is not reason to think that it was not; given all the historical evidence and the interntal evidence of all of his letters, with the book of Acts. I have no credible reason or reasonable argument to think otherwise.

2) Even if it was Paul's last letter, Scripture was still being written after 2 Tim was written (otherwise Peter could not confirm Paul's letters),

So? that is even more powerful for our position, the one you claim is the first Pope, Peter wrote and confirmed all of Paul's letters are holy Scripture. Boom. Your argument falls.

further strengthening my case that SS could not have been the meaning Timothy read of 3:15f.

No; you have no case at all.

Nick said...

Ken: No, it is not, because we have them as written texts. the mere fact that they were written when they were written and Jude says, "the faith was once for all delivered to the saints". That is written down in verse 3; therefore, it is all finished.

Nick: Sola Scriptura in it's essence teaches all doctrines binding on Christians must be taught in Scripture. If it doesn't mention periods of inscripturation, you must leave Scripture to establish that point, which is a violation of SS 101. As for Jude 3, that in no way is limited to Scripture, nor can it mean that logically if you believe John still had things to write down as late as 90AD.


Ken: Jude was probably written around 80 AD. All other books were written from 49-70 AD. (I believe Revelation was written before 70 AD, in 68 or 69 AD.)
If John's writings were written from 90-96 AD, as many believe, the principle is the same. "do not add to the word of God".

Nick: This guessing and assuming greatly undermines the credibility of SS because at that point you must rely on assumptions rather than hard facts. It also causes an anachronistic interpretation of 2 Tim 3:16, which is fallacious in itself, because it means Timothy couldn't have been practicing SS for a good 10+ years after reading 2 Tim 3:16 (because Jude was written in 80AD).


Ken: Yes it is, "delivered once for all to the saints" Jude 3; and verse 17: "Remember the words that were spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ". They cannot "remember" them in accuracy unless they go back to the written records.

Nick: This is blatant fallacy, presuming Scripture must be in mind here, and worse yet the false argument that it's impossible "remember" something without a written record.


Ken: Luke 24:25-27 says, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken; then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained the Scriptures to them. Here "spoken" is paralleled with "scriptures". The point is proven clearly.

Nick: The purpose here was the extent of Christ's Sufferings, not all Christian doctrine. And it's downright fallacy to say "spoken" must mean "scriptures" eleswhere just because it means that here.


Ken: Yes it is. Can you point to any oral apostolic tradition, that is not in the Scriptures, that was not written down that has been infallibly declared by the RCC that it was actually spoken and revealed by the apostles while the apostles were still alive?

Nick: Turning this question around on me doesn't answer it for yourself. Your own position demands such a thing must be taught in Scripture, and it's not. Turning to philosophical arguments is valid in the logical realm, but not in the Sola Scriptura realm. Two extra-Scriptural dogmas that come to mind are the Canon of Scripture and that Divine Revelation ended with the death of the Last Apostle.

Nick said...

Ken: You cannot point to any either. that is why the RCC had to come up with the "subsequent view" (Trent and Vatican II) and "unfolding view" (Newman and DD) and why Cardinal Henry Edward Manning eventually said, "the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy." . . . it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour . . .

Nick: You are confusing issues here. The "subsequent" and "unfolding" views don't directly apply here. The Apostles didn't speak in terms of our normative dogmatic way (eg "Three Persons in One Divine Nature") yet such concepts in essence are 100% Apostolic, thus the "unfolding" view is perfectly logical. Second, your Manning quote is neither here nor there, it's not an official teaching text, but worse yet it is a butchered quote and thus unfairly appealed to. For the sake of argument, I could say the Catholic position is totally false...THAT STILL doesn't prove Sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura would still have to be proven from Scripture, so turning any 'difficulties' around on me doesn't ultimately further your case.

[Old Nick comment: Second, you're using a philosophical argument here for Sola Scriptura rather than a Biblical mandate.]

Ken: Not really. You are trying to force the Scriptures that they had to say, "mandate" or "command"; historical facts are also under the Providence of God and true; and under the Guidance of the Holy Spirit. The principle is there, when you put it all together.

Nick: Historical facts are under God's providence, but they are not equivalent to Scriptural teaching. If a teaching is not found in Scripture, then it's not binding.

Ken: If the subsequent view or unfolding view was meant by God, especially through the one you claim was the first Pope, then Peter, in his second letter, would have told us about more revelation and apostolic succession so that after he dies, the churches would have guidance. Instead, Peter does nothing of the sort. He points them all back to the Scriptures, and he calls his letter writing, a work of "diligence", so that they will be able to remember, and to stir up their sincere minds to the truth. He also confirms all of the Paul's epistles as Holy Scripture. 2 Peter 1:12-21; 3:1; 3:16. The principle is very clearly there.

Nick: You're projecting SS onto Peter and then beating up a Catholic strawman. You have no grounds to say what Peter would have or should have said. Also, he didn't "point back to Scripture" in a Sola Scriptura sense, but instead pointed back to his personal testimony of seeing Christ with his own eyes. And his comments about Paul were confirming his epistles as beneficial, not making any rules about SS.

[Old: 1) You don't know if 2 Tim is Paul's last letter.]

Ken: Yes we do; there is not reason to think that it was not; given all the historical evidence and the interntal evidence of all of his letters, with the book of Acts. I have no credible reason or reasonable argument to think otherwise.

Nick: You don't know for sure, not dogmatically, your proof would be implicit at the very most.


[Old Nick: 2) Even if it was Paul's last letter, Scripture was still being written after 2 Tim was written (otherwise Peter could not confirm Paul's letters),]

Ken: So? that is even more powerful for our position, the one you claim is the first Pope, Peter wrote and confirmed all of Paul's letters are holy Scripture. Boom. Your argument falls.

Nick: You totally misunderstood my argument. Paul's Epistles being Scripture in no way hurts Catholicism. The bind you are in is that Peter writing after 2 Tim was written means 2 Tim 3:16 APPLIED DURING a time of inscripturation, meaning it could not have been teaching SS. It's as straightforward as that.


Ken: No; you have no case at all.

Nick: How could Timothy have been practicing SS if 2 Peter had not yet been written? It's impossible. Yet before 2 Peter was written, Timothy read that letter from Paul. The result means whatever Paul taught Timothy, it could not have been teaching him to live by Sola Scriptura.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for responding. First, the quote from Tertullian is from his his “On Prescription Against Heretics”, chapter 21 (ANF 3.252, 253).

Second, concerning the following you wrote:

>>the apostolic churches at the time of Tertullian are in basic agreement with Evangelicals and Protestants, in the rule of faith issue, a basic Apostles creed and Nicene creed as against Gnosticism and Arianism, etc.>>

Then you are also in agreement with Catholics too. Yet with that said, certain aspects of the “rule of faith” deal with succession and authority which is linked to “apostolic churches” (and their bishops). Catholic doctrine falls in line with such a view (which it further develops), whilst I would argue that Protestant ecclesiology pretty much rejects any notion of a “coincidence” theory of authority—which I believe Irenaeus, Tertullian, and some other ECFs embraced.

But, it seems to me that the REAL area of disagreement between EVs and Catholics lies in the realm of the development of doctrine—i.e. how implicit teachings within Scripture become explicit, and authoritative for church sanction/s.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

I still have not seen anywhere in Tertullian or Irenaeus, where they outline what the rule of faith is; (those references that D. H. Williams gave, and I typed up above) that apostolic succession and authority are part of the doctrinal statements of "the rule of faith".

Sincerely,
Ken

Ken Temple said...

Nick: You're projecting SS onto Peter

No; I am not. He calls his writing of his second epistle, "being diligent" to "remind them of the truth" "after he lays aside his earthly body". It is very clear what he means when you study and meditate on all of 2 Peter 1:12-21 with 3:1 (where he shows his second letter is the "being diligent" to help the believers "to stir up their minds to remember the truth" and 3:16.


and then beating up a Catholic strawman. You have no grounds to say what Peter would have or should have said.

No; something so important and so dogmatic as the 1870 dogma and the whole idea of Peter being the first pope would have been articulated in the Scriptures and that was a perfect opportunity to do just that. "I am about to die"; "follow the bishop of Rome that I am appointing now to succeed me with infallible authority to guide the church." (or something like that)

Also, he didn't "point back to Scripture" in a Sola Scriptura sense, but instead pointed back to his personal testimony of seeing Christ with his own eyes.

He included that, which surely points to his testimony in Mark, but he is using that as a extra credibility for the authority of "his second letter" (3:1) and what it does - it is him being diligent so that they will be able to remind themselves in the truth once he is gone. (1:12-21) And since he is writing it down, he says the Scripture is even more sure than his eyewitness oral testimony. He connects his eyewitness account with written Scripture and says that the written down Prophecy of Scripture is made more sure than only eyewitness testimony; as great as that is.

And his comments about Paul were confirming his epistles as beneficial, not making any rules about SS.

The principle of SS stands once the ink dries and they die. It becomes the rule, for it is the only solid documentary evidence left for what the apostolic deposit and teaching was.

Ken Temple said...

Nick: How could Timothy have been practicing SS if 2 Peter had not yet been written?

The fullness of it did not take place until all was finished, but they had to appeal to authority that was written; but does not mean at that time that more revelation was not coming.

Deut. 4:2 says "don't add to the law"

The principle is there, yet more revelation was coming later.

Proverbs 30:6 - do not add to his words" - again, the basic principle is there; but more revelation is still coming.

Rev. 22:18 - same thing. if it is last book with Jude, then it is all finished and RCC developments, are so radical, they are additions and corruptions to the original gospel and rule of faith.


It's impossible. Yet before 2 Peter was written, Timothy read that letter from Paul. The result means whatever Paul taught Timothy, it could not have been teaching him to live by Sola Scriptura.

as above, it was not completely "Sola Scriptura" (but it was in a general way, except for the exception that more revelation would come later, 2 Peter, then Rev. and Jude, for example) till the last book was finished and the last apostle died. The Scriptures are sufficient for faith, doctrine, and practice.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

You assertions about SS are not concepts that are asserted in the Holy Writ. What Nick is trying to do is show you that your theological deductions also aren't concepts that are asserted in the Scriptures... and your theological "deductions" that lead you to SS don't NECESSARILY follow from the things the Bible actually assert about the Holy Writ.

You are assuming a lot of things in your arguments...

Blessings,
BC

David Waltz said...

Good morning Ken,

In response to yesterday’s post, you wrote:

>>I still have not seen anywhere in Tertullian or Irenaeus, where they outline what the rule of faith is; (those references that D. H. Williams gave, and I typed up above) that apostolic succession and authority are part of the doctrinal statements of "the rule of faith".>>

There are two “senses” to the phrase “rule of faith”: first, a narrow creedal formula, recited by the faithful and baptismal candidates (which expands with time); and second, the entirety of the Christian faith/gospel—Tertullian or Irenaeus use both senses.

Now concerning the first, “those references that D. H. Williams gave, and [you] I typed up above”—you provided those references in the combox of THIS THREAD (and for future reference, the author of the essay from which you derived the references is Fredrick W. Norris, not D. H. Williams). Norris provides some greater context for those references:

==The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381, so often confessed in various churches’ worship, appeared a bit later than Athanasius’ canonical list of Scripture from 367, but it has a precursor in the 325 Nicene Creed. The Apostles’ Creed is difficult to date, but it seems to have emerged by the mid-fourth century. The so-called rules of faith in Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen have much of the content and structure of the later creeds; they represent late second- and early third-century efforts to describe the core of Christian faith in Asia Minor, France, North Africa, Egypt, and Palestine. (“The Canon of Scripture in the Church”, in The Free Church & the Early Church, p. 16.)==

Concerning the second, later, in the same book, Williams wrote:

==While Scripture had the primacy of place for the Fathers, there was no category in their minds in which Scripture could or should function in the life of the believer apart from the church’s teaching and language of worship, i.e. Tradition. (“Scripture, Tradition, and the Church”, ibid. p. 107.)==

From Lane’ essay we read:

==Apostolic tradition is authoritative but does not differ in content from the Scriptures. The teaching of the church is likewise authoritative but is only the proclamation of the apostolic message found in Scripture and tradition. The classical embodiment of the coincidence view is found in the writings of Irenaeus and Tertuallian…Apostolic tradition does not add to Scripture [in a material sense, not formal sense] but it evidence of how it is correctly interpreted…There is no question of appealing to Scripture or tradition against the church. This is partly because the apostolic tradition was found in the church but not just for this reason: the Holy Spirit preserves the church from error and leads her into the truth.==


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi BC,

You wrote:

>>You assertions about SS are not concepts that are asserted in the Holy Writ. What Nick is trying to do is show you that your theological deductions also aren't concepts that are asserted in the Scriptures... and your theological "deductions" that lead you to SS don't NECESSARILY follow from the things the Bible actually assert about the Holy Writ.

You are assuming a lot of things in your arguments...>>

Your thoughts above apply not only to SS, but virtually ALL “theological deductions”, including the doctrine of the Trinity. As such, the very history of doctrinal development strongly suggests (dare I say demands) an authoritative interpretive tradition.


Grace and peace,

David

Anonymous said...

David,

YES!! And that is exactly what our system has built into it!

Blessings,
BC

Nick said...

Ken: No; I am not. He calls his writing of his second epistle, "being diligent" to "remind them of the truth" "after he lays aside his earthly body". It is very clear what he means when you study and meditate on all of 2 Peter 1:12-21 with 3:1...and 3:16.

Nick: Stating he is writing stuff as a reminder or praising Scripture is perfectly fine to Catholics, that's nothing close to Sola Scriptura though. What's funny is that 2nd Peter was one of the historically doubted NT books, even by Luther.


Ken: No; something so important and so dogmatic as the 1870 dogma and the whole idea of Peter being the first pope would have been articulated in the Scriptures and that was a perfect opportunity to do just that. ...

Nick: This is fallacious. There is plenty of Scriptural evidence of Peter's primacy. You're looking at Scripture as a systematic theology textbook, which it's not.

Nick: He included that, which surely points to his testimony in Mark, but he is using that as a extra credibility for the authority of "his second letter" (3:1) and what it does - it is him being diligent so that they will be able to remind themselves in the truth once he is gone. (1:12-21) And since he is writing it down, he says the Scripture is even more sure than his eyewitness oral testimony. He connects his eyewitness account with written Scripture and says that the written down Prophecy of Scripture is made more sure than only eyewitness testimony; as great as that is.

Nick: He is not saying Scripture is more sure than his eyewitness testimony, that's bogus. He's saying his apostolic authority and witness saw OT prophecy fulfilled right before him and he has the credentials to speak on it. He's not in any way in a power struggle between oral and written. He plainly says his second Epistle is focused on encouragement and not a textbook or theological treaties.

Ken: The principle of SS stands once the ink dries and they die. It becomes the rule, for it is the only solid documentary evidence left for what the apostolic deposit and teaching was.

Nick: This whole comment is fallacious and not based on any text of Scripture. "The principle of SS stands once the ink dries and they die"? That's not a Scriptural teaching. This also goes right back to 2 Tim 3:16, meaning that it meant one thing to Timothy before Paul died, and another thing after Paul died. That's bogus.

(cont 2 of 2)

Nick said...

[old comment by Nick: How could Timothy have been practicing SS if 2 Peter had not yet been written?]

Ken: The fullness of it did not take place until all was finished, but they had to appeal to authority that was written; but does not mean at that time that more revelation was not coming.

Nick: Thus Sola Scriptura was not operational at the time, just like I've said. Timothy could not have understood 2 Tim 3:16 as SS, nor could he have practiced it. You've fallen into the error of anachronism, which is projecting a new teaching back onto a text that could not originally have meant that.

Ken: Deut. 4:2 says "don't add to the law"
The principle is there, yet more revelation was coming later.

Nick: Irrelevant to my case, it only hurts yours. If more revelation is coming, then SS couldn't have been in operation, making it a novel doctrine by definition once the Apostles died.

Ken: Rev. 22:18 - same thing. if it is last book with Jude, then it is all finished and RCC developments, are so radical, they are additions and corruptions to the original gospel and rule of faith.

Nick: IF IF IF it is the last book? You're building cornerstone dogma on a big "if"? That's a house built on sand by definition.


Ken: as above, it was not completely "Sola Scriptura" (but it was in a general way, except for the exception that more revelation would come later, 2 Peter, then Rev. and Jude, for example) till the last book was finished and the last apostle died. The Scriptures are sufficient for faith, doctrine, and practice.

Nick: You're just hanging yourself with your own rope with these claims. To have "not completely SS" is equivalent to SS not existing, it's all or nothing, else the "sola" is bogus. This kind of argument fails on multiple levels from unfairness (eg "IF this book was written last"), faulty logic (eg sola scriptura partly in operation when Tim read 3:16), and worst of all lack of Biblical mandate (eg SS takes effect once the last apostle dies).

Such a crucial doctrine as SS should surely not have to suffer such fatal structural flaws.

Ken Temple said...

As such, the very history of doctrinal development strongly suggests (dare I say demands) an authoritative interpretive tradition.

This is true; we also look to the history of interpretation to see what others have said (some good and some bad) in interpreting Scripture. The problem is that the RCC claimed "infallible" (without error) in their interpretative traditions later, and their church offices, they claim an infallibility; and yet they actually went against Scripture itself. The Trinity, Sola Scritpura, and Sola Fide and Penal Substitution are all Biblically derived doctrines based on sound exegesis; whereas the RCC issues that divide us are not based on any sound exegesis at all. Luther and Calvin and Huss and Wycliffe and Knox, etc. were right.

Ken Temple said...

Thanks David -

you wrote:
There are two “senses” to the phrase “rule of faith”: first, a narrow creedal formula, recited by the faithful and baptismal candidates (which expands with time);

Yes, this is what I mean.

and second, the entirety of the Christian faith/gospel—Tertullian or Irenaeus use both senses.

I have yet to see them specifically write that or imply that.

Now concerning the first, “those references that D. H. Williams gave, and [you] I typed up above”—you provided those references in the combox of THIS THREAD (and for future reference, the author of the essay from which you derived the references is Fredrick W. Norris, not D. H. Williams).

I guess I forgot to notice that D. H. Williams was the editor, and only wrote one (more?) of the chapters; and different people wrote different chapters. I don't have the money to keep buying all these books. I wrote it down as from D. H. Williams. Sorry.


Norris provides some greater context for those references:

==The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381, so often confessed in various churches’ worship, appeared a bit later than Athanasius’ canonical list of Scripture from 367, but it has a precursor in the 325 Nicene Creed. The Apostles’ Creed is difficult to date, but it seems to have emerged by the mid-fourth century. The so-called rules of faith in Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen have much of the content and structure of the later creeds; they represent late second- and early third-century efforts to describe the core of Christian faith in Asia Minor, France, North Africa, Egypt, and Palestine. (“The Canon of Scripture in the Church”, in The Free Church & the Early Church, p. 16.)==

Yes, this is what I was communicating.

Ken Temple said...

Dave wrote:

and second, the entirety of the Christian faith/gospel—Tertullian or Irenaeus use both senses.

You quoted from D. H. Williams and Tony Lane, with is fine; that is their opinion, and they are very good scholars; and certainly more knowledgeable than me; but I don't see any specific statements from Irenaeus or Tertullian where they specifically say that; and/or use the term "rule of faith" and "the faith" or "the preaching" or "the teaching" and define it as "a system or method of interpreting Scripture". Where are those references?, -- as in the clear references from "sense no. 1" of "the rule of faith".